Workers’ compensation tribunal amends judge’s findings on temporary disability end date

Garment worker claims injury took form of hypertension and headaches, among others

Workers’ compensation tribunal amends judge’s findings on temporary disability end date

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board of California modified a judge’s findings to reflect the applicant’s temporary disability period as Sept. 27, 2016 to June 20, 2017 and to set the permanent and stationary date at June 21, 2017.

CM Laundry LLC – the defendant in the case of Casarrubias vs. CM Laundry LLC; Arch Insurance Company, adjusted by Corvel – employed the applicant as a garment dyeing person.

The applicant claimed temporary disability from Sept. 27, 2016 to Feb. 15, 2018. He alleged that he sustained injury to his lumbar spine, bilateral shoulders, elbow, neck, feet, and wrists. He also claimed that his injuries took the form of hypertension and headaches.

Dr. Charles Schwarz, the orthopedic qualified medical evaluator (QME), issued a July 2017 medical report requesting additional medical records. After receiving such records, the orthopedic QME issued a February 2018 supplemental report stating that the applicant’s condition reached maximum medical improvement as of June 21, 2017. The applicant’s treating physician found the same.

Dr. Omar Tirmizi, as the internal medicine QME, issued a January 2018 report diagnosing the applicant with industrially-related hypertensive cardiovascular disease.

Last June, the workers’ compensation administrative law judge found that the applicant was entitled to temporary disability from Sept. 27, 2016 to “June 20, 201”. The judge’s findings were unclear about when the period of temporary disability ended.

The defendant asked for reconsideration. The defendant argued that the applicant was entitled to temporary disability only from Sept. 27, 2016 to June 20, 2017. The temporary disability award was unlawful because the applicant could not receive over 104 weeks of this type of benefits, the defendant contended.

The workers’ compensation judge recommended amending her findings to state that the applicant was entitled to temporary disability from Sept. 27, 2016 to Feb. 15, 2018.

A panel of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board amended the workers’ compensation judge’s decision to reflect entitlement to temporary disability from Sept. 27, 2016 to June 20, 2017 and a permanent and stationary date of June 21, 2017.

The applicant, who was injured in 2016, was temporarily totally disabled from Sept. 27, 2016 to June 20, 2017, the panel decided. June 21, 2017 was the date when the applicant’s condition became permanent and stationary, as supported by the orthopedic QME’s report.

The panel determined that the applicant’s injury was subject to a statutory cap of 104 compensable weeks for aggregate temporary disability payments under section 4656(c)(2) of California’s Labor Code. Apart from making these changes, the panel otherwise affirmed the workers’ compensation judge’s decision.

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